Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Illinois

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Vara was convicted of child pornography (720 ILCS 5/11-20.1(a)(6)(vii)). The circuit court sentenced him to three years of imprisonment and imposed fines mandated by statutes: a $1000 child pornography fine (720 ILCS 11-20.1(c)), a $500 sex offender fine (730 ILCS 5/5-9-1.15)), and a $500 additional child pornography fine (720 ILCS 5-9-1.14). The court also imposed a $200 fine that was described at the hearing as a “sheriff’s office fine” but was referenced in the written sentencing order as a “sexual assault fine” (720 ILCS 5-9-1.7). The clerk of the Stephenson County Circuit Court included several entries in the electronic accounts receivable record pertaining to Vara’s conviction; some indicated that he was obligated to pay fines not specified in the judgment: “Court” ($50), “Youth Diversion” ($5), “Violent Crime” ($100), “Lump Sum Surcharge” ($250), “Sexual Assault” ($200), “Sex Offender Regis” ($500), “Medical Costs” ($10), “State Police Ops” ($15), “Child Pornography” ($495), and “Clerk Op Deduction” ($5). The appellate court vacated the challenged data entries, rejecting the state’s argument that it had authority to order imposition of mandatory fines that were not imposed by the circuit court. The Illinois Supreme Court vacated. The appellate court lacked jurisdiction to review the clerk’s recording of fines that were not ordered by the circuit court. View "People v. Vara" on Justia Law

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In 2011, Dr. Parmar died, leaving an estate valued at more than $5 million. Plaintiff was appointed as executor of the estate. At the time of Parmar’s death, the estate was not subject to taxation under the Estate Tax Act, 35 ILCS 405/1. Two days after Parmar’s death, the state revived the tax for the estates of persons who died after December 31, 2010. Plaintiff filed the estate’s Illinois estate tax return and paid the tax liability. Plaintiff eventually filed a second amended return, claiming that the amendment to the Estate Tax Act did not apply to his mother’s estate and no tax was due, then filed a purported class action challenging the retroactivity and constitutionality of the Act. Plaintiff requested a declaration that the Estate Tax Act applies only to the estates of persons who died on or after the amendment’s effective date or that the Estate Tax Act is unconstitutional. The Illinois Supreme Court upheld the suit’s dismissal for lack of jurisdiction; because the complaint seeks a money judgment against the state, it is barred under the State Lawsuit Immunity Act (745 ILCS 5/1). The complaint must be filed in the Illinois Court of Claims. The damages that plaintiff seeks go beyond the exclusive purpose and limits of the Estate Tax Refund Fund and potentially subject the state to liability. Plaintiff could have filed suit in the circuit court under the Protest Moneys Act (30 ILCS 230/1). View "Parmar v. Madigan" on Justia Law

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In 2010, as the trustee for an alternative loan trust, the Bank filed a residential mortgage foreclosure complaint against Pacific and others in Will County. The Bank later filed an affidavit for service by publication stating that, after searches of directory assistance and the Secretary of State’s business registration records, it was unable to locate Pacific. After service by publication, Pacific failed to respond. In July 2012, the court entered a default order and judgment of foreclosure, with a finding that service of process was proper. In February 2013, the property was sold at a sheriff’s sale. The Bank sought an order approving the sale. At the April 18 hearing, Pacific’s attorney appeared for the first time. The Bank failed to appear. The court dismissed for want of prosecution. On May 30, the court reinstated the case. On July 18, Pacific moved to quash service of process, asserting that Pacific is a foreign LLC registered in New Mexico, that it does not have an Illinois registered agent, and that service by publication was improper under 805 ILCS 180/1-50. In May 2014, the court denied Pacific’s motion because it was filed more than 60 days after Pacific filed its appearance (735 ILCS 5/15-1505.6(a)) and held that service by publication was proper. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, rejecting the Bank’s contention that the 60-day deadline was unaffected by the dismissal. Before 60 days can pass such an action necessarily must be pending. The court remanded the question of service by publication. View "Bank of New York Mellon v. Laskowski" on Justia Law

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Cook County public defender Campanelli refused an appointment to defend Cole, accused of armed robbery, arson, and murder, citing potential conflicts of interests with co-defendants. The court nonetheless appointed the public defender’s office. Campanelli file notice of intent to refuse appointment, citing Rule 1.7 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, noting that the Counties Code (55 ILCS 5/3-4006) allows a court to appoint counsel other than the public defender if the appointment of the public defender would prejudice the defendant. The court responded that it had not made a finding that appointment of the public defender would prejudice the defendant. There were 518 Cook County public defender attorneys; they did not all share the same supervisors. There is a multiple defender division for multiple offender cases but Campanelli contended that she was in conflict even in those cases and continued to refuse appointment, arguing that she was the attorney for every client assigned to her office. Campanelli also asserted that her office was a law firm and should be treated like any other law firm. The circuit court of Cook County entered an adjudication of direct civil contempt against Campanelli and sanctioned Campanelli $250 per day. The appellate court stayed the fines. On direct appeal, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed that Campanelli was in contempt, but vacated the order and sanction. “At best, Campanelli’s claims of conflict are based upon mere speculation that joint representation of codefendants by assistant public defenders will, at some point, result in conflict.” View "People v. Cole" on Justia Law

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Prusak filed medical malpractice complaint in 2011, against Dr. Jager, University Retina, and University of Chicago medical providers. Prusak claimed that from 2007-2009, she received treatment from Dr. Jager for “flashes, spots and floaters in her eyes.” In 2009, she underwent a brain biopsy that showed she had central nervous system lymphoma. She alleged that Dr. Jager was negligent in failing to order appropriate diagnostic testing. Prusak died in November 2013. Prusak’s daughter was allowed to substitute herself as plaintiff, as the executor of Prusak’s estate and, in April 2014, filed an amended complaint, citing the Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180/2), and the Survival Act (755 ILCS 5/27-6) and the same allegations of negligence as the original complaint. Defendants alleged that plaintiff’s wrongful death claim was barred by the four-year medical malpractice statute of repose because decedent had died more than four years after the last alleged act of negligent medical treatment. Plaintiff responded that the wrongful death claim related back to the original complaint under 735 ILCS 5/2-616(b). The circuit court dismissed the wrongful death claim. The appellate court reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. The wrongful death action accrued upon decedent’s death, which occurred after the four-year repose period had expired. If plaintiff had filed an original wrongful death complaint at that time, it would have been barred by the statute of repose but a pending complaint can be amended to include a wrongful death claim that accrued after the statute of repose expired. View "Lawler v. University of Chicago Medical Center" on Justia Law

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After being found unfit to stand trial on a charge of domestic battery against his mother, Benny was admitted involuntarily to the Elgin Mental Health Center. He was medicated involuntarily and later found fit to stand trial. Benny was transferred to the jail, stopped taking his psychotropic medication, was again found unfit to stand trial and returned to Elgin. The state sought to administer psychotropic medication involuntarily. During one day of a two-day hearing, Benny was physically restrained. His attorney asked for the shackles to be removed. The security officer stated that he was “listed as high elopement risk” and submitted a “patient transport checklist.” The judge spoke to Benny, but denied the request. Benny interrupted testimony and indicated that the restraints caused him pain. The court granted the petition allowing involuntary administration of psychotropic medication, not to exceed 90 days. The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated that ruling, holding that the appeal fell within the mootness exception for issues capable of repetition yet evading review. Courts may order physical restraints in involuntary treatment proceedings only upon a finding of manifest necessity; they must give the patient’s attorney an opportunity to be heard and must state on the record the reasons for allowing shackles. Benny’s attorney did not object to the court's procedures, ask for any additional opportunity to be heard, or request findings or an explicit statement of reasons. A specific objection was required to preserve procedural arguments, given that the procedure for allowing restraints in involuntary treatment proceedings was not established at the time of Benny's hearing. View "In re Benny M." on Justia Law

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Rozsavolgyi filed a charge of discrimination on the basis of disability with the Illinois Department of Human Rights against the city of Aurora. Rozsavolgyi had been employed by the city from 1992 until she was involuntarily discharged in 2012. Months later, Rozsavolgyi was notified that she had the right to commence a civil action. Rozsavolgyi filed suit, alleging civil rights violations under the Illinois Human Rights Act, 775 ILCS 5/1-101, including failure to accommodate her disability, disparate treatment, retaliation, and hostile work environment. The circuit court certified three questions for permissive interlocutory review to the appellate court under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 308. After the appellate court addressed each question Rozsavolgyi obtained a certificate of importance under Rule 316 as to one question: Does the Local Government and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, 745 ILCS 10/1, apply to a civil action under the Human Rights Act where the plaintiff seeks damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and costs? If yes, should the court modify, reject or overrule its prior holdings that the Tort Immunity Act applies only to tort actions and does not bar actions for constitutional violations? The Illinois Supreme Court vacated and remanded the appellate court’s response. The question is “improperly overbroad, should not have been answered, and does not warrant” review. The question ignores the breadth of the Human Rights Act, which provides for numerous types of civil actions for unlawful conduct in a variety of contexts. View "Rozsavolgyi v. The City of Aurora" on Justia Law

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Walter, age 39, died at home. Walter’s body was transported to the Moultrie County morgue, where the coroner was unable to determine the cause of death. Walter’s body was transferred to Springfield Memorial Medical Center for a full autopsy, where it was received by employees of Securitas, a private security firm that contracted with Memorial. Those employees placed the body in a closed steel case used to store severely decomposed remains, but did not place a visible identification tag on Walter’s body, nor affix an identification label to the case. They erroneously recorded in the morgue’s logbook that the body contained in the case was that of Carroll. Days later, Butler Funeral Home was given Walter’s body, rather than with Carroll’s body. Before the error was discovered, Butler cremated Walter’s body; no autopsy was performed on Walter’s body and no cause of death was ever determined. Walter’s mother sued. She settled with Memorial and Butler, and claimed tortious interference with her right to possess Walter’s body against Securitas. The circuit court dismissed, finding that plaintiff failed to plead sufficient facts to support the allegation of a duty owed by Securitas to the plaintiff. The appellate court reversed, rejecting defendant’s argument that, in order to state a claim for tortious interference with the right to possess a corpse, a plaintiff must plead specific facts demonstrating that the defendant’s misconduct was wilful and wanton. The Illinois Supreme Court agreed. Recovery in such cases is permissible upon a showing of ordinary negligence. View "Cochran v. Securitas Security Services USA, Inc." on Justia Law

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Aspen American Insurance sued, claiming that the roof of a Michigan warehouse owned by Interstate had collapsed, causing the destruction of goods owned by Aspen’s insured, Eastern Fish. The complaint alleged that Interstate “maintain[s] a facility in or near Chicago.” Interstate acknowledged that it owns a warehouse in Joliet, Illinois. Interstate, an Indiana corporation, unsuccessfully moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. The appellate court affirmed. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed. Aspen did not show that Interstate’s contacts with Illinois render it at home in that state under subsection (c) of the long-arm statute, 735 ILCS 5/2-209. While a foreign corporation must register with the Secretary of State and appoint an agent to accept service of process in order to conduct business in Illinois, absent any language to the contrary, the fact that a foreign corporation has registered to do business does not mean that the corporation has waived due process limitations on the exercise of personal jurisdiction, including with respect to cases that are completely unrelated to the corporation’s activities in Illinois. View "Aspen American Insurance Co. v. Interstate Warehouseing, Inc." on Justia Law

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On May 9, the Hospital's mental health facility director filed a petition seeking emergency inpatient admission of Linda under 405 ILCS 5/3-600, stating that Linda was admitted on April 22. Section 3-611 provides: “Within 24 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, after the respondent’s admission ... the facility director … shall file 2 copies of the petition ... with the court … the court shall set a hearing to be held within 5 days … after receipt of the petition. On June 11, the court held a hearing. Testimony focused on the fact that Linda had been admitted to a medical unit with medical problems but, while there, received psychiatric care. The court granted the petition. The appellate court first noted that Linda’s 90-day hospitalization had ended, rendering the appeal moot, but applied the public interest exception to mootness. The court determined that Linda’s “physical” admission to the hospital was not synonymous with “legal” admission and the medical floor, arguably, was not a “mental health facility” under the statute, so the petition was timely. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. The court disagreed with the distinction drawn between the medical floor and the mental health unit but reasoned that legal status may change while one is in a mental health facility. Linda did not demonstrate that her physical entry into the facility and her initial treatment were involuntary and, therefore, did not establish that the petition was not timely. View "In re Linda B." on Justia Law